The Iowa State Cyclones limp into their final home game of the year following two straight losses - one to Baylor in Hilton Coliseum and a game to Kansas State in Manhattan that could very well be considered the definition of "Stepping on your own dicks." ISU's Georges Niang made an errant pass on a sideline inbounds play that Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu stole, took one dribble and slammed it home to give the Wildcats the one point lead they needed to all but seal the deal. The Cyclones got the ball back with under five seconds to go on a baseline out of bounds pass, but Monte Morris tossed the ball over 6-foot-7 Niang's head into the backcourt and the play ended up with a partially blocked Naz Long 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The mental toughness and leadership of this year's team has been questioned ever since Iowa State dropped their first game of the year in Kansas City against Maryland. Following up a team that included DeAndre "Mother F-ing" Kane and Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim basically ensured an unfair comparison to last year's squad for this year's version, but the losses of those two players has been more apparent than ever over the past week. For this talented (but inconsistent) group of Cyclones to make waves in the postseason, they're going to have to learn to put teams away - and fast.
Tonight, ISU faces the Oklahoma Sooners - who, with a win tonight, would only have to beat Kansas at home to capture a share of this year's Big 12 title. Jayhawk fans will oddly be rooting for the Cyclones to win tonight. Feels dirty, doesn't it?
Opponent: Oklahoma (20-8, 11-5)
Tip: Monday, 8 p.m. CST - Hilton Coliseum - Ames, Iowa
TV/Webcast: ESPN (Brent Musburger, PxP; Fran Fraschilla, Analyst) / WatchESPN
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Oklahoma SBN Site: Crimson And Cream Machine
What to Know
We're Talking Oklahoma - cylentbutdeadly previews the Sooners and also takes a quick look back on the three seniors playing their last home game in a Cyclone uniform tonight: Dustin Hogue, Bryce Dejean-Jones and Daniel Edozie.
enCYCLONEpedia: Iowa State vs. Oklahoma preview - Kirk Haaland investigates whether OU is really as good as they played against the Cyclones in Norman.
3 Questions As The Oklahoma Sooners Take On The Iowa State Cyclones - Rich DeCray of Crimson And Cream Machine questions whether Iowa State can stop the Sooners' balanced attack.
The Mayor Enters the Final Four - Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg has made the final four of the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge... If he collects the most votes by March 15 at midnight, he wins $100,000 for the American Heart Association! GO VOTE!!!
Last week, I predicted this game to be Iowa State's toughest remaining on the schedule. I still believe that to be true, but after consecutive losses, I think this team comes out with a vengeance tonight.
Don't be surprised to see Niang go off tonight as retribution for his faltering down the stretch at K-State. Also, I fully expect either Hogue or Dejean-Jones to go beast mode tonight in their final game in front of Cyclone Nation.
Iowa State must do a better job overall on defense if they are to take down the Sooners. Oklahoma embarrassed the Cyclones back on February 9 after an abysmal performance that saw ISU give up 94 points to the Sooners. In that game, OU forward TaShawn Thomas was nearly unstoppable no matter who Fred Hoiberg sent to guard him, driving into the lane at will en route to a 22 point outing. Isaiah Cousins and star player Buddy Hield also had great games, scoring 19 and 17 points, respectively.
Beating Oklahoma is going to be tough, but I leave you with one tidbit of information... From the start of the conference season, if you split the games into sets of three, Iowa State has gone 2-1 in every set. In the final set of three games, Iowa State is already 0-1. I say the Cyclones finish the pattern with wins against the Sooners at home and TCU in Fort Worth.
Iowa State 86 - Oklahoma 80
What will Kansas fans watching our game tonight complain about the most during the broadcast?
This poll is closed
Booing the refs (because they definitely don't do that).
Fran Fraschilla's anti-KU bias (definitely a real thing).
Any mention of Hilton Magic (how dare another team have a catchy name for their home court atmosphere).
How sexy our coach is (nose-picker Self doesn't attract the babes).